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Medical marijuana may be legal in about two-thirds of US states, but that hasn’t deterred myths reminiscent of a “Prohibition Era” attitude. The increasing popularity and rapid expansion of the cannabis industry have — somehow — not translated into widespread acceptance, and medical marijuana myths are still rife. 

We’re here to set the story straight. 

The Myths and the Peddlers

It’s evident that medical marijuana myths are not held by only unassuming members of the public who don’t have accurate information on the wonder drug; federal law propagates medical marijuana myths too.

Of course, as most states have already legalized medical marijuana, advocates say it’s only a matter of time before federal law follows suit. Today, efforts are ongoing to legalize marijuana at the federal level. 

So let’s get right to it. How do we debunk these medical marijuana myths? With information, that’s what we do here at Elevate, your one-stop shop for all marijuana-related services and information. We’ve put together accurate and up-to-date information you can use to combat these medical marijuana myths.  

MYTH: People want cannabis just to get high

FACT: There’s no denying that there are people who are drawn to the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Also, there are definitely medical marijuana products that’ll get you stoned. However, it’s incredibly inaccurate to say that everybody turns to cannabis explicitly to get high.

In fact, more and more people are discovering the incredible medicinal effects that the plant can have on the mind and body. 

We can’t ignore the proven therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana. According to Harvard, “it is quite effective for the chronic pain that plagues millions of Americans, especially as they age. Part of its allure is that it is safer than opiates (it is impossible to overdose on and far less addictive), and it can take the place of NSAIDs such as Advil or Aleve if people can’t take them; due to problems with their kidneys or ulcers or GERD.”

So, while getting a bit giggly from your weed can be a bonus, that’s not always why people turn to the plant in the first place — despite what others may think.  

MYTH: Medical marijuana can lead to addiction 

FACT: The definition of addiction can be ambiguous. It’s true that marijuana can be psychologically addictive in the same way working out, watching TV, and staring at your phone can be addictive. If you use large quantities of marijuana for long periods, you can develop a dependency.

However, marijuana dependency is not a black hole you can’t get out of. You can take a tolerance break if you think you have marijuana dependency.

A qualified doctor usually prescribes medical marijuana, and if you follow their instructions, you don’t need to worry about addiction. Unlike opiates and other drugs, the risk of physical addiction with medical marijuana is a lot lower. But, if you have a history of addiction, let your doctor know.

MYTH: Smoking medical marijuana causes cancer

FACT: Smoke of any kind can cause harm. Marijuana smoke contains carcinogens, but the same can also be said of tobacco smoke and shisha smoke. Interestingly enough, there is no evidence suggesting that MMJ can cause lung cancer, unlike other types of carcinogens. 

A study conducted in 2006 by UCLA found no links between marijuana use and lung cancer. According to the study’s lead author, “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer and that the association would be more positive with heavier use. What we found instead was no association at all and even a suggestion of some protective effect.” 

If smoking is your favorite method of enjoying medical marijuana, we have some tips to help you — and your lungs. If you have a pre-existing lung condition, it’s best to avoid smoking entirely and use other methods of consuming medical cannabis like edibles and topicals.

Smoking with a pre-existing lung condition may make the condition worse. 

MYTH: If I consume marijuana, I have to smoke it

FACT: This medical marijuana myth stems from Reefer Madness-inspired attitudes of earlier generations: the image of “delinquents” lighting up and puffing away on every block and corner. The truth, however, is that you can use cannabis without smoking it. 

Cannabis comes in edible forms like tinctures, cookies, lollipops, gummies, and brownies. You can even incorporate it into your meals. Tinctures are wonderful options for sublingual or oral consumption, as well. 

LEARN MORE: What is a Tincture & How Does It Work?

If you don’t want to ingest marijuana, you can use medical marijuana topical or transdermal patch. These options are best if you’re dealing with muscle pain, or if you’re simply not interested in consuming cannabis.  

MYTH: Medical marijuana is a gateway drug

FACT: The most common use of medical marijuana in the United States is as an anesthetic; the popularity of medical marijuana for pain treatment is a testament to its effectiveness. 

How likely is it that the millions of people who get satisfying results after using medical marijuana will ditch it and move on to dangerous substances? On the contrary, they will stick with medical marijuana because it gives them the relief they seek. 

According to a study by the Institute of Medicine, there is “no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”

MYTH: Medical marijuana is just a wellness fad that doesn’t work

FACT: This medical marijuana myth flies in the face of proven evidence. Indeed, there’s not tons of research regarding medical marijuana, but that’s because of the apparent difficulty of conducting large-scale medical research into the effects of a Schedule 1 drug. Scientists will be committing a crime, and the study will be deemed illegal. 

However, limited studies prove that medical marijuana is more than just hype — it has substance. Medical marijuana research demonstrates its benefits and safety in treating a broad range of ailments, including HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, seizure disorders, and other debilitating illnesses.

Medical marijuana effectively helps manage the symptoms of complications such as multiple sclerosis pain, nerve pain, chronic pain, muscle pain, nausea, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and weight loss. 

MYTH: Medical marijuana has deadly side effects

FACT: While medical marijuana does have side effects, it’s not nearly as severe as many of the drugs widely prescribed by doctors. 

All medicines have side effects, but those of medical marijuana are mild compared to many prescription drugs. A fatal medical marijuana overdose has never occurred, unlike many other medications, such as opiates.

Instead, the side effects of cannabis overconsumption tend to be along the lines of nausea, dizziness, paranoia, or fatigue. 

Research has shown that medical marijuana can help patients reduce their dependence on opiates which has even more dangerous side effects, higher risk of addiction, and often fatal overdose incidents. 

MYTH: All types of medical marijuana will make you high

FACT: This one is patently false. While some medical marijuana products are potent enough to induce a psychoactive effect, not all medical marijuana products will make you feel high. 

Cannabis contains chemical substances known as cannabinoids. The psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the ‘high’ feeling is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana, and it’s very popular, but it has no psychoactive effects.

If you’re looking to enjoy the wellness benefits of medical marijuana without any psychoactive effects, CBD products will be the best choice for you. 

LEARN MORE: What is Full-Spectrum CBD? | CBD vs. THC: Which is Right For You?

There are various other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that are therapeutic and supportive but don’t have any intoxicating elements. CBN and CBG are good options to try, as well.  

MYTH: Marijuana is a foreign substance in the body

FACT: Marijuana contains about 400 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, and the body has an endocannabinoid system that produces natural cannabinoids. 

Simply put, the body is no stranger to processing cannabinoids. Marijuana cannabinoids are unlikely to overwhelm the endocannabinoid system, especially in proper doses.  

Separating Myths From Fact

Millions of Americans may have legalized marijuana at the state level, but we’re still in a transition phase when it comes to public perception and widespread acceptance. Dispelling medical marijuana myths with facts will take time, but it must be done. 

The push toward federal legalization should be accompanied by efforts to tackle the stigma around medical marijuana use. That’s why we’re here. 

Elevate Holistics has qualified experts and knowledgeable professionals who possess the tools and information to guide you through your cannabis journey. If it’s related to cannabis, we have what you’re looking for. We can help you get your MMJ card, find dispensaries and answer your questions.

Book an appointment to get your own medical marijuana card today — 100% online, 100% hassle-free.

Get Your MMJ Card Right From Home

Elevate Holistics’ process is quick, affordable, and done entirely online. It’s never been so easy.

About the author

Michael Lawal is a seasoned content writer with specialized expertise in the medical cannabis industry. With a background that blends journalism and health sciences, Michael has a knack for translating complex medical cannabis research into accessible and engaging content. His writing portfolio showcases a range of work from informative articles and research summaries to patient education materials. Committed to raising awareness about the benefits and responsible use of medical cannabis, Michael's work is a valuable resource for both consumers and professionals in the field.
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